Leading into Nationals, we look to spotlight as many teams as we can in hopes of shining a bright light on standouts from participating teams. These glow-ups include up to 2 of each team’s standout rookies as well as a handful of core contributing players that have gotten their respective team to where they are going into the National Collegiate Dodgeball Association’s annual finale. Lastly, we get a glance into each participating team’s mindset and expectations going into Nationals.
Bearcats’ Rookie Spotlight
Isaiah joined this past fall after our recruitment fair, and since picking up the pinch throw, has become a solidified starter in our already talent-laden lineup. He has acclimated well to the frenetic pace of play that our team prefers and despite having a very laid-back personality, has quickly grown into a presence of his own on the court. We expect Isaiah to continue to develop into a fabulous dodgeball player, as we believe his ceiling is a future Captain and overtime six player for us. We can’t wait to keep watching him grow.
Ethan is currently a sophomore who joined the club right in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic in the fall 2020 semester. Ethan possesses a lethal pump-fake and is always looking to counter opposing throwers when we are on our baseline. It’s been really great to watch him develop practice-by-practice thus far, and as of late Ethan has developed a knack for catching, which includes an ODC clinching catch against Ohio State.
Key Contributors for the Bearcats
Assistant Captain. Club Treasurer. February’s BOTM. On the short-list for NCDA league MVP. All of these things describe Cory Heitmann. He has been an absolute beast on the court since his sophomore year for the Bearcats, and it’s about time he gets his due. Cory’s high-motor and agility on the court draw many an errant throw from opposing teams, and his 12-6 drop soccer style throw make him a menace to players who aren’t quick enough getting back in transition. He plays with a fearlessness that you rarely see in a player and quite literally puts his body on the line for his team, and has absolutely been a player worthy of highlight all year long.
Matthew Rosinski, or “Ski”, is a player recently highlighted for the Bearcats in the Clifton Heights Classic preview, and we had to bring his name up once again. Why? Because he is a no-doubt All-American in our eyes. Ski plays with the same tenacity that Cory does, and possesses a hammer of a left arm and has insane movement on his throws to boot. He patrols the left-center of the court primarily for the Bearcats, and is not afraid to unleash a bending cross or come at you head on to try and snatch your soul. Fear Double Zero.
Ryan Engelman is the younger brother of former Kentucky Wildcats star, Brandon Engelman, so you already know he’s a capable dodgeball player. Older brother aside, Ryan has made his own name on the Bearcats roster, perhaps being one of if not the best catcher in the entire league. Ryan will not only drop catch you or take your hardest throw straight on at the back line, but he will also look for catches in transition, taking on a sort of bodyguard role for throwers on his side of the court. As of late, his throw has come into its own, and he could actually be one of the Bearcats’ harder throwers at this point in his career. You’ll want to be aware of where Ryan is on the court at all times.
A transfer student from Ohio University during the pandemic, Kevin Skiba might be one of the more underrated, under-the-radar players in the entire league. Just ask his former team how important he was to the Bearcats’ against them at the Clifton Heights Classic, or even Michigan State as they tried to complete a second-half comeback against UC back in December. A true “glue guy” Skiba can do a bit of everything, and uses his big, tall frame well to make a lot of catches for the Bearcats.
Speaking of another “glue guy”, Luke Grace is a senior for the Bearcats, but is also technically a rookie. Yes, Luke joined in the midst of the pandemic as well, but he is already a player who can do a bit of everything, and do it well. From ridiculous hands-only catches, to running players down in transition, Luke is a straight up athlete. Though he graduates in May, the his short tenure with the Bearcats has been a successful one, as he is an ODC Champion, and looks forward to potentially bringing home more hardware at Nationals.
Mindset for Nationals – Matt Rosinski
“There has been one goal on our team’s mind since this season started: Win a National Championship. Every single player on our team is capable and already has made huge plays this season for us, and anyone on our roster could be the reason we win a point or take an entire match. With a really deep team boasting a lot of strong arms, we will be able to spread the workload around and be fresh enough to not have any sort of fatigue or drop-off in performance as we get deep into Sunday’s games. Either we will complete this season and be crowned National Champions, or we will go home disappointed. There is no second place for this team this year.”